Given this continuing influx of illegal migrants from Bangladesh into Assam, student leaders in 1979 came out in fierce protests demanding detection, disenfranchisement and deportation of illegal immigrants from Assam. In 1978 by-election in the Mangaldoi Lok Sabha seat, observers noticed that the number of registered voters had grown dramatically. AASU(All Assam Student Union) demanded that the elections be postponed till the names of foreign nationals were deleted from the electoral rolls. On 27 November 1979, AASU and AAGSP (All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad) combine called for the closure of all educational institutes and picketing in state and central government offices. Mass picketing was arranged in front of all polling offices where candidate nominations could be filed, in the first week of December 1979. No candidates were allowed to file nomination papers in the Brahmaputra valley. 10 December, 1979, the last date for submitting the nomination papers, was declared as a statewide bandh. The government proclaimed a curfew at different parts of the state, including the major city of Guwahati. At Barpeta, then IGP K.P.S. Gill led the police force in escorting Begam Abida Ahmed to file nomination papers; they attacked protestors. Khargeswar Talukdar, the 22-year-old general secretary of Barpeta AASU Unit, was beaten to death and thrown into a ditch next to the highway at Bhabanipur. Talukdar has been honored by the Assam Movement as its first martyr.
Click here for the complete list of 855 martyrs who died during the Assam movement.
The Jatiyatabadi Dal, Asom Yubak Samaj and Young Lawyers’ Forum also joined the AAGSP and AASU led Assam Movement. AASU started observing massive satyagraha on the lines of Mahatma Gandhi’s freedom struggle. Thousands courted arrest daily, hundreds of thousands of students lost educational years. The movement continued for six years. It became violent at times but was the emotional outpouring of the indigenous people of Assam fighting for survival. The most important aspect of the movement was that it got massive support from all segments of the society except from the ruling government and a few others who would benefit from illegal Bangladeshi votes. AASU declared different times that the agitation was against all illegal foreigners irrespective of religion or community. AASU continuously had been informing the central government with direct communication to the Prime Minister that the influx from Bangladesh had posed serious threat to the existence of the indigenous people of the state of Assam and the entire North Eastern region and changed the demography of the region. It proved a threat to the security of India. The movement ended with the signing of the Assam Accord on 15 August 1985.